Mauna Kea is the highest point in Hawaii (4,207 metres / 13,803 feet above sea level) and is located more or less right in the middle of The Big Island. This is a barren almost desert like area on the island. It is windswept, dusty and hot.Why? Well Mauna Kea is a long dormant volcano (it last erupted over 4.500 years ago).
The landscape of volcanic rock is dotted with calderas. The evidence of Mauna Kea’s past active state is all around.
Way up on the peak is an astronomical observatory. It is said to be one of the best places on earth to view the start and planets but if you have a rental car forget about going up there.
Rental car companies don’t let you take their vehicles up the steep winding saddle road (insurance wont cover it). Alas that was my problem on the day I visited there. Despite this the views from hikes around Mauna Kea were spectacular.
Amazingly Mauna Kea is much like an iceberg in a way. Apparently when you measure its height from the base of the ocean floor it is 10,100 metres / 33,100 feet high! What you can see above ground is quite the sight!